1. Addition Over $150,000, Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich. | Project Location: Plymouth, Mich.
In this project, the main goal was to reconsider the floor plan while maintaining the Craftsman Bungalow style of the home. The home actually lost 43 square feet but gained functional space. A code-violating rear entry stairway was completely eliminated, and the relocated basement access improved daily entrance. By getting rid of duplicate dining spaces, there was room for a dedicated kitchen space. Matching the existing cladding materials was a challenge, but reclaimed siding from 1920s Detroit was key to renovating the home in a historically sensitive manner.
The renovation also incorporated green design elements to improve energy efficiency, which the homeowner says has led to a 50-percent savings in the amount of fuel used during the same length of time and similar weather conditions.
2. Bathroom $20,000 - $60,000, Pure Design Environments, Eden Prairie, Minn. | Project Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Although space was plentiful, this master bathroom had a compartmentalized layout that screamed 1990s and was not user-friendly. The owner wanted to balance the home’s modern, sculptural architecture with a masculine, contemporary style.
A round, freestanding tub replaced a non-functioning Jacuzzi and now acts as the anchor of the space. Asymmetrical vanities covered in anigre veneer and stained appropriately pull in the desert colors of the home’s mountain location, while linear metallic porcelain tile flooring adds an industrial edge. Round vessel lavatories and a quartz top help balance the space. Leaky windows, old fixtures, a fireplace wall, and out-of-date draperies were all replaced. Natural light abounds in the space with a large picture window in the main area and a large window in the concealed stool compartment.
3. Commercial Remodel, Cape Associates Inc., Eastham, mass. | Project Location: Centerville, Mass.
The Centerville Public Library needed a larger space to accommodate increasing circulation, which has grown 60 percent in the past 10 years, and local groups who use the library as a community center. A new 4,600 square-foot, two-story addition and 3,795 square feet of renovations to the existing structure provide additional program, multipurpose, meeting, and staff spaces.
The new building combines structural steel, composite decking, and concrete slab on the lower level with wood-frame construction on the upper level. Along with a new brick façade, copper roofed cupola, and large stamped-concrete terrace, the new section merges seamlessly with the character of the original historical structure. A new reading room/collection room features a curved vaulted ceiling, large custom windows, and a boxed-bay sitting area.
4. Finished Basement, Silent Rivers Design+Build, Clive, Iowa | Project Location: West Des Moines, Iowa
A complete basement remodel turned an expansive, non-descript space into a display of the homeowners’ passions. The new design links very distinct spaces such as a contemporary theater room with a more traditional wine cellar. A redefined hearth room features a fireplace surrounded by a mix of light wood and cultured stone.
The theater room, situated behind the hearth wall, has a valence over the doorway to evoke the idea of a theater marquee. Inside, the theater is isolated from the adjacent spaces to prevent transferring sound vibration, especially to the wine room. A wine tasting space primes the transition to the main wine cellar with a wood vaulted ceiling. A reused wine barrel for a bar support and a wine-infused baseball bat act as conversation topics with guests.
5. Green Remodel, Landis Construction, Washington, D.C. | Project Location: Potomac, Md.
The owners of this 1967 brick ranch house debated tearing the whole structure down but decided on using green materials and practices in a complete remodel. The crew gutted the walls on both levels and needed 4 inches of interior space around the perimeter for spray foam insulation. An addition to the second story over the garage created an apartment complete with a kitchenette, bathroom, and bedroom with separate exterior entry.
Reconfiguring both floors made the space more suitable for the family, but the green features highlight the project. Eighty 4-by-2 feet photovoltaic solar panels on the south-facing roof of the house cover 25-to-30 percent of the home’s energy use, while the rest is sold back to a utility company. Six skylights and seven tubular skylights throughout the home bring natural light to both levels, and energy-efficient argon-filled windows are wood but have an aluminum cladding for low maintenance.
6. Historic Renovation, Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich. | Project Location: Plymouth, Mich.
The clients sought to address many aspects of their historical home—namely the dysfunctional floor plan, previous incongruent additions, and substandard energy efficiency—in a manner respecting the architecture style and the surrounding neighborhood. Operating under a tight constriction budget, Architectural Resource re-imagined the home’s layout, squeezed the highest possible utility out of the smallest possible space, and meshed the new features with the old in both a unified and sensitive approach.
A dangerous rear-entry stairway violated building code, so the firm removed the stairs and relocated them between the kitchen and the dining room. Reconsidering the floor plan also helped eliminate redundant dining areas within the house and forged a more highly functional, dedicated kitchen space. The demolition of an unsightly sunroom addition on the home’s back end established more opportunities for indoor-outdoor living through the renovated kitchen.
7. Insurance Restoration, LaMantia Design & Construction, Brookfield, Ill. | Project Location: Highland Park, Ill.
After recovering from the trauma of a fire in their house, the clients decided to view the soot and water damage as an opportunity to reconfigure and improve their kitchen. The plan focused on developing an open space that would offer more capabilities for each of the seven family members and their two dogs. With the help of two certified kitchen designers, the homeowners achieved the classic kitchen of their dreams—fresh, contemporary, and functional.
Eliminating a triangular bump in the back wall of the kitchen helped expand the sense of open space. With the exterior wall straightened, the extra square footage allowed traffic to flow unimpeded through the kitchen to the eating area and around two new islands. The cooking area became the focal point because of its striking wood range hood and its ability to provide additional workspace for easy, everyday meal preparation as well as entertaining.
8. Kitchen $50,000 to $100,000, LaMantia Design & Construction, Brookefield, Ill. | Project Location: Burr Ridge, Ill.
The clients requested an open floor plan for their kitchen, breakfast, and family room, but the odd angles created by the kitchen bay window and compounded by the original cabinet layout had to be resolved before Lamantia Design & Construction could establish a better flow among the spaces. To straighten and combine the areas, the firm had to extend the sink wall 3 feet and replace the bay window with a triple casement unit.
Adding support columns to both ends of the sink wall was treated as an outstanding element once Lamantia Design & Construction encased the beams with paneled cabinetry and topped them with multilayered crown moulding. To form another intricate detail, the firm installed a coffered ceiling over the island and boosted the visual interest of the middle space. Other features of the refurbished kitchen include a prep sink and an under-counter refrigerator in the island, a range along the wall as opposed to in the island, and a new double oven.
9. Kitchen Over $100,000, Sun Design Remodeling Specialists, Burke, Va. | Project Location: Herndon, Va.
A husband wanted the kitchen to be more conducive for cooking, while his wife preferred to feel as if she were a guest watching him prepare food. An existing peninsula with added center island restricted the flow of the kitchen and prevented easy access for the chef. Sun Design Remodeling Specialists ultimately opened up the space to allow for seamless movement and created comfortable seating for guests to relax at a new triangular center island and interact with the cook.
The shape of the triangular island and the various counter heights permit different activities such as food preparation, clean up, and mingling with friends and family alike. The client requested two full-size refrigerators next to each other, so Sun Design used cherry wood facing on one of them to disguise the unit as well as match the surrounding kitchen cabinets. To establish a finished look, cabinets were installed underneath the lower counter and now provide clear access to storage from multiple sides.
10. Outdoor Living Under $100,000, Michael Nash Design Build & Homes, Fairfax, Va. | Project Location: Chantilly, Va.
A family living in a neighborhood that undertakes home improvement frequently finally decided to take on a project of its own. The parents desired more space and wanted their kids to be outside as much as possible, but a shabby deck on the back of their home required attention.
Traffic flow and multiple entrances mattered most because the kids often dragged their muddy shoes through the house after being outside. The firm planned for a mudroom behind the garage with its own side entrance plus a back entrance to an airy, high-ceiling covered porch. The porch wraps around and connects to the revamped deck, which features synthetic railing and stained-grade wood and offers extended living space just outside of the kitchen and family room.
11. Residential Interior Over $100,000, LaMantia Design & Construction, Brookefield, Ill. | Project Location: Burr Ridge, Ill.
The “empty nester” clients purchased a cottage in a community built to replicate Tudor Village, a neighborhood in the borough of Queens, New York City. After going over several design revisions, the homeowners agreed to cede a bedroom and a powder room in order to gain the enlarged kitchen, walk-in master closet, and separate laundry room they desired.
Sacrificing the bedroom as well as the powder room allowed the firm to expand the kitchen by 3 feet. With this increased square footage, Lamantia Design & Construction also carved out a walk-in closet and a separate, double-entry laundry room. The firm then reclaimed some attic space to ensure a volume ceiling in the augmented kitchen and added beams to the coffered ceiling detail to continue the theme of the house.
12. Residential Interior Under $100,000, Pure Design Environments, Eden Prairie, Minn. | Project Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
A young professional couple moved from Chicago into a transitional rambler and requested a home office that could accommodate each of them. The room had to be comfortable and spacious enough for them to spend long hours working together everyday. The clients brought two desks from their last house and remained confident the furniture could be repurposed in their new home office, but quickly agreed an alternative system would be imperative to make the space functional and aesthetic.
Pure Design Environments designed an office desk layout that provides two large work areas, so even when working together the homeowners have plenty of individual space. The firm built-in ample lateral file storage and concealed space for printers, CPUs, and shelves for decorative as well as functional office items.
13. Residential Specialty, Architectural Resource, Ann Arbor, Mich. | Project Location: Plymouth, Mich.
An existing stairway to the lower level of the home proved to be too narrow and steep and failed to provide sufficient height clearance at the bottom landing. The kitchen entry door swung out across the ascending stair flight, and an entry door from the exterior of the house clipped the tread at the intermediate landing, so that a person had to descend the stair to avoid the door when opening it.
Architectural Resource sought to provide a centrally located, readily accessible, and aesthetically appealing stairway to the basement that also complemented the historical architecture of the existing home. Relocating the stairway between the renovated kitchen and existing dining room improved the daily experience of entering the house. The firm emulated the Craftsman Bungalow design cues from the home’s front entry-hall stair to the second floor, and its careful execution allowed the remodel to blend seamlessly.